You have probably seen mice at pet stores before and wondered if mice as pets are a good idea?. A lot of these are what are called “feeder mice”, which means they are bred to feed other animals at the store. These mice, while still cute, do not compare to Fancy Mice, which are bred as pets especially. Fancy Mice are tamer, generally, which means that will be more relaxed and personable comparatively. Fancy Mice also come in a veritable rainbow of hues. Let’s discuss Mice as Pets and the Pros and Cons.
As pets, mice are sweet and polite. They are fairly well-mannered little guys. Still, all pets have issues potentially, and weighing the pros and cons is always wise.
Some of the biggest ones are listed here, starting with the pros, as follows:
Table of Contents
1. Mice Love to Play
What mice lack in size, they make up for in energy! Along with the imperative exercise wheel, there are many other ways mice enjoy getting out their wiggles, like games. Especially with cagemates, mice love to play. Mice will also play with people, but sometimes they must be tamed initially. Otherwise, a mouse may not realize you are playing but instead feel anxiety.
The best way to encourage a mouse to play is soft verbal encouragement, and, the fail-safe: treats. With any animal, offering food is a sign of love. Treats cause endorphins and relaxation in mice. Try mouse-safe fruits and veggies, or quality mouse treats from the store.
Coax your mouse into playing games like treat-on-a-string (executed by dragging a treat on a string for them to chase), or a treat hunting game.
For the latter, simply place mouse treats in reasonably hard-to-reach places. You mouse will have to put their nose to the test, as well as get exercise as they crawl, stretch, reach and burrow. This can be amusing to observe: a mouse on a mission (for treats), searching about diligently and cleverly, and getting excited at each discovery.
2. Mice Are Tidy Fellows
In the old days, when the world was a dirtier and less hygienic place, mice were known to make some people sick. This was not so much the mice as their circumstances.
The truth is, mice are actually clean and tidy creatures. They like to organize their cage, store food (while it is fresh), and even groom one another and themselves. A mouse will be very unhappy in a cage that is dirty.
To help your mouse feel comfortable, change their bedding frequently. Choose a bedding type that is affordable, yes, but also one that absorbs messes and eliminates odor effectively. Some popular options are wood shavings and paper shreds.
Some opt to give their mice water bowls. This is unwise, as mice tend to get bedding and other debris in the bowl. To avoid this, invest in a basic water bottle with a spout and ball made from steel.
3. Caring for a Pet Mouse is Inexpensive and Simple
Since mice are small pets, they do not eat a lot and they do not take up very much space. This makes them fairly low-maintenance.
Mice require a cage, bedding, food, a water bottle and fresh water, an exercise wheel, a couple of chew toys, and a home.
Investing in a Metal Cage Will Ultimately Save Money
When it comes to purchasing a cage, you may notice that those made from plastic are generally less expensive. While this is so, plastic is something that mice tend to chew. Metal cages are a better choice in order to avoid long-term damage and replacement costs. Simply ascertain that the bars are close enough together that an adventurous mouse cannot escape.
As far as bedding goes, wood shavings and paper shreds are sound choices. Aspen wood is preferable to most other wood types. This is because, in comparison to other wood varieties, like pine, aspen is not very dusty. Other woods tend to exude odors of their own when soiled, also. This is not ideal, clearly. Aspen wood is soft and allergy-friendly, and excellent material for your mouse to burrow.
Paper shreds are also a fine option, so long as you replace them frequently. Most kinds of mouse bedding are fairly affordable.
Make sure to avoid unnatural bedding, like fluff. Mice and other rodents tend to get caught in this, and also have a hard time digesting the material. There are some exceptions, like cellulose fibers. Use your judgment wisely.
Most Kinds of Mouse Bedding are Extremely Affordable. Here are some of our Favorite pet mice beddings on Amazon:
Mice Are Tiny and Eat Tiny Amounts Which is Cost-Effective
Next, your mouse will need some fresh, crunchy veggies and quality mouse food from the store. Crunchy fruits and veggies are best. The teeth of a mouse are always growing, and this helps flatten them down and keep them in check. A bit of produce for your mouse will last a long time. You may wish to buy produce in small portions, so it remains fresh.
An exercise wheel is a necessity for every mouse. To get the most out of the exercise wheel, make sure that it is metal. As with cages, plastic wheels are something mice are prone to chew.
Recommended is a metal exercise wheel with a flat running surface. An exercise wheel is an excellent outlet for the scurrying mice naturally like to do each day.
Invest in a Metal Exercise Wheel That Will Stand the Test of Time. Here are some of our Favorite ones on Amazon:
Toys and Treats
Ensure the Dental Health of Your Mouse with Cheap Chew Toys
Chew toys are as important as crunchy fruits and veggies when it comes to dental health. Mice will use these to grind their teeth down accordingly. Something as simple as a piece of wood (specifically made for mice to chew) will suffice.
Here some of our favorite chew toys and treats for pet mice:
Homemake a Mouse House for Maximum Affordability
Finally, you may make your mouse a homemade mouse house. These mimic mouse burrows. They can be made with old plastic or cardboard containers, which is very cheap, or bought online.
Online purchases will cost more but will last longer, as plastic and cardboard require replacement as they become chewed and dirty.
Really, your mouse will not be picky as long as they have a home, so it is up to you personally.
4. Mice Will Entertain You With Their Activities
You are unlikely to get bored with a mouse as your buddy! Some like to watch fish in aquariums; a much calmer display than that of the mouse, who has boundless energy. Mice will occupy themselves by running on their wheel, burrowing, storing treats, grooming, etc.
If your mouse has cagemates, you will even be able to see them groom each other, as well as wrestle and play.
Once you have tamed your mouse sufficiently to have it out of the cage, they may allow you to hold them, and be willing to play the games mentioned above, like treat-on-a-string, hunting for treats, etc. Mice are interactive pets and will be happy to socialize if you make it worth their while with gentle treatment, positive reinforcement (like treats), and so on. Never let your mouse out of a cage unsupervised or in an area with hiding places. This limits your options.
5. Mice Are Bright and Perky
Mice are really, really smart. They are observant, interactive, and they are good problem solvers. Unfortunately, this is why they have been used in experiments, largely. They make much better pets, I think!
Probably due in large part to their intelligence, mice are emotionally complex as well, and capable of deep bonds and emotionality.
Mice take pleasure in exercising their mental faculties. Some find it fun to make mazes for their mouse to traverse. Mice are indeed very good at this activity. Doubtless, this is due to how mice burrow in the wild naturally; their sense of navigation is honed finely.
Your average mouse is also quite skilled at communicating. Mice are known to speak to one another in a variety of squeaks. Sometimes, these sounds are so quiet that to the human ear the are imperceptible, literally. Mice have also been known to sing; how cute is that? They have a lot to express, apparently.
6. Mice Come in Many Lovely Colors
Mice bred for pets are called Fancy Mice. These come in many lovely shades. Black, chocolate, white-lilac, tan, dove, and white are just a few.
7. Domesticated Mice Like to Socialize
In some important ways, wild and domesticated mice are different creatures completely. Taming a wild mouse, even if you treat it right, is highly unlikely. They are nice enough but tend to maintain the fearful aspects of their personality.
A domesticated mouse, on the other hand, can be downright friendly.
While mice have many pros, they do also have a few cons. The odor of male mice tends to be a bit stinky, for example. This can be addressed by getting a mouse or pair of mice that are female. Mice can also become prone to eye infections under stress, or general illness when they do not receive the proper care.
Other Pets May Need To Be Kept Away From Your Mouse
Some pets do not tend to get along with mice. Cats, in particular, see mice as prey. Mice get along best with their own kind, rabbits, or other animals of prey.
You will probably need to keep predators away from your mouse. This is not to say there are not exceptions: some extremely gentle pets can get along fine with a mouse. Use your judgment wisely, and never put your mouse under stress or risk.
Pet Shop or Mouse Breeder?
As is often the case with pet stores and pets, mice purchased at these places might have behavioral or health issues. Some folk even end up with female mice that are pregnant already.
TOP TIP: Find a Reputable Mouse Breeder to Help Avoid Potential Issues
To eliminate the risks inherent in a pet shop, approaching a reputable mouse breeder is advised strongly. They will keep track of the birth dates and breed of their mice, begin socializing them right away, and will ensure that they are healthy.
In the wrong conditions, mice have very bad nerves. This is another reason that pet shops are not recommended, really.
These sorts of mice are jumpy and very limited in their sociability. If you wish, you may rescue a mouse like this from the pet store. Simply be aware that the process of taming them will take additional work.
Not all mice at pet stores are unfriendly. Just pick a mouse with care.
A reputable mouse breeder will know their work. A good breeder will start taming their mice early, to make them friendly.
An unfortunate fact about mice is that they have a short lifespan. In the wild, they live only 3 months, thanks to predators and the like. They can live into their golden years, with a 2-3 year lifespan, in captivity. This is still not a whole lot of time. However, domesticated mice are a lot happier than they are in the wild, naturally.
As you can see, mice can make wonderful pets. They are genuinely charming animals. Learning about shortcomings they may have, such as timidity if they are tamed improperly, can help you prevent these potential behavioral flaws. A beloved mouse will display gentleness, a desire to interact, and inquisitiveness naturally.
Pros & Cons Of Keeping Mice As Pets
- Inexpensive to purchase and keep
- They take up very little room
- Mice are cleaner than you think
- They are active throughout the day
- Pet mice are more interesting than you may think
- They love to be handled
- You can call them cute names like Mickey
- They don’t smell bad, although males smell more than females
- You don’t need to take them out for walkies
- They don’t eat much
- Lots of colors to choose from and fancy mice too.
- They are fragile and not suitable for very young children
- Not all mice make good pets. Choose carefully
- Mice have a short lifespan 1-3 years max
- They do get ill like all pets and suffer from Tumors
- Some can be timid and hard to handle
I think you will agree the Pros certainly outweigh the cons.
Conclusion: Mice As Pets
So after weighing up all the Pros and Cons of keeping mice as pets, should you allow your child or yourself to keep mice as pets? Yes, Damm right you should.
Some pets are simply too obvious and boring. Anyone ever had a tortoise? Man they are boring pets!
Mice are fun and keep you entertained as long as you give them a spacious and interesting home they deserve. No, you can’t take them for a walk on a lead but they are easy to care for, cute and fun.
Don’t listen to all the haters. Get a pet mouse and trust me you’ll love ’em.